Private Lives episodes 15-16: A redeeming end to series marred by plot holes

·5-min read
Cha Joo Eun (Seohyun, left) and Lee Jeong Hwan (Go Kyung Pyo) share a kiss before finally having the wedding that they've been dreaming of in Private Lives.
Cha Joo Eun (Seohyun, left) and Lee Jeong Hwan (Go Kyung Pyo) share a kiss before finally having the wedding that they've been dreaming of in Private Lives.

By Bryan Tan

This recap, which contains spoilers, covers the final episodes 15-16 of Private Lives, which is currently available on Netflix.

In the last two episodes of Private Lives, the shadowy GK group doggedly pursues fugitive Jang Hyeon Cheol, who is in possession of a burner phone with pictures implicating the most powerful elite figures in South Korea. Lee Jeong Hwan (Go Kyung Pyo) and Cha Joo Eun (Seohyun) try to distract GK’s thugs and buy him time, but he is eventually confronted by GK’s Innovative Vision Room’s deputy chief, Kim Jae Wook, and commits suicide to avoid capture.

Hyeong Cheol passes his phone to Joo Eun before he dies, and she discovers that everyone in President Choi’s (Suk Yoon Ho) bribery ledger has been photographed, which proves the ledger to be true. Jeong Hwan is captured by GK’s thugs, and Joo Eun comes to rescue him with Han Son (Tae Won Seock).

Cringey lines and silly shadows

Detective Kim Myung Hyun (Lee Hak Joo) finds out that his partner Kang Soo Jin (Lee Yun Seol) is a “shadow” operative for GK group, and gives her a fake cellphone from Hyeon Cheol to let Innovative Room manager Kim Sang Man (Kim Min Sang) know that she’s been exposed.

Detective Kang is then fired as a shadow for giving manager Kim the fake phone. Seriously, did she not think to check the phone beforehand? It’s one of the top 10 dumbest things that the plot has made the characters do so far.

Jeong Hwan tells Joo Eun how much he missed her during their time apart; he could not remember her face and smells despite how much he missed her, and that’s why he needed to be with her. She also thanks him for staying alive, and they share a tender kiss. The moment was meant to be touching, but the lines were so cringey!

Jeong Hwan tries to put a nail in Assemblyman Yoo Byung Jun’s (Min Ji Oh) bid for the presidency by having rival Assemblyman Kwon Hyuk Jang (Jang Eui Don) hold a press conference revealing that Yoo took a bribe from President Choi. But GK promptly retaliates and assassinates Assemblyman Kwon, proving that anything is possible when the police are corrupt and ridiculously incompetent.

Our main leads unite to take down GK group

GK also finally makes its coup de grâce, going all out to kill Bok Gi, Jeong Hwan, Joo Eun and even the Room’s deputy chief, Jae Wook for some inexplicable reason. A warrant is issued for Jeong Hwan and Jae Wook for the murder of Assemblyman Kwon. Bok Gi’s house is broken into by GK thugs who brandish weapons at her, and an assassin is sent to murder Joo Eun.

As you can guess, the coup fails miserably. Joo Eun, a skinny girl of barely 50 kilos, wrestles off her male assassin with bound limbs and escapes from his car. She then conveniently bumps into Jeong Hwan, who also manages to subdue two police officers sent to arrest him. Meanwhile, Bok Gi pulls out a gun and somehow escapes from at least 10 thugs in her living room. A face-palm isn’t enough to encapsulate such shoddy writing.

The four are finally united by their circumstances, and establish that Hyeon Cheol’s phone is important because it contains a photo of President Choi with South Korea’s former President, Lee Geun Hwan. It also explains why if revealed, it would expose how GK’s chairman illegitimately secured his son as the company’s heir through bribing the former president, and why President Choi had to be killed in order for the chairman not to be exposed.

Jae Wook is brutally shot by an assassin and Jeong Hwan is hit by a car. It turns out that Han Son, who is a son of UI group’s chairman, was tasked to capture Jeong Hwan by his brother Choi Yong Jin (Lee Beom Soo). Jeong Hwan and Yong Jin agree to join hands to take down GK’s Innovative Vision Room once and for all.

Joo Eun is kept under surveillance by the NSO counter-terrorist team, which is also under GK’s thumb. Jeong Hwan manages to sneak her away to meet secretly with GK Room’s manager Kim. She baits him with Hyeon Cheol’s cellphone, tricking him into confessing how GK’s succession wouldn’t have come to fruition if not for him, and how manager Kim supposedly built GK up with his own hands, not knowing that GK’s chairman was listening through a wiretap on Joo Eun. The villain gets his just punishment, with the demotion and arrest of manager Kim.

Jeong Hwan unfortunately also ends up going to jail for five years but released for probation after three years. Bok Gi and Jae Wook continue running ‘documentary’ scams, except now Jae Wook is permanently crippled from his gunshot wound. Jeong Hwan and Joo Eun finally have the wedding they’ve been dreaming of, with friends and family in attendance.

It is a redeeming end to a series often marred by plot holes, confusing characters and sometimes bizarre logic.

Read our other Private lives recaps:

Private Lives, eps. 1-2 : A family of con artists seeks to make their mark in the world of scams

Private Lives, eps. 3-4: Cha Joo Eun mopes over her scam marriage and chases after the missing Jeong Hwan

Private Lives, eps. 5-6: Lee Jeong Hwan does a Mission Impossible in faking his death and infiltration missions

Private Lives eps. 7-8: Jeong Hwan and Joo Eun discover each other’s real identities

Private Lives eps. 9-10: Joo Eun and Jeong Hwan reunite and join forces against the shadowy GK group

Private Lives eps. 11-12: The war against GK group gets political

Private Lives eps. 13-14: A new character threatens to trip up the plot